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Frontiers in Zoology

Alberto Valero-Gracia, Rita Marino, Fabio Crocetta, Valeria Nittoli, Stefano Tiozzo, Paolo Sordino
BACKGROUND: Thaliaceans is one of the understudied classes of the phylum Tunicata. In particular, their phylogenetic relationships remain an issue of debate. The overall pattern of serotonin (5-HT) distribution is an excellent biochemical trait to interpret internal relationships at order level. In the experiments reported here we compared serotonin-like immunoreactivity at different life cycle stages of two salpid, one doliolid, and one pyrosomatid species. This multi-species comparison provides new neuroanatomical data for better resolving the phylogeny of the class Thaliacea...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Marie-Therese Nödl, Alexandra Kerbl, Manfred G Walzl, Gerd B Müller, Heinz Gert de Couet
BACKGROUND: Cephalopods are a highly derived class of molluscs that adapted their body plan to a more active and predatory lifestyle. One intriguing adaptation is the modification of the ventral foot to form a bilaterally symmetric arm crown, which constitutes a true morphological novelty in evolution. In addition, this structure shows many diversifications within the class of cephalopods and therefore offers an interesting opportunity to study the molecular underpinnings of the emergence of phenotypic novelties and their diversification...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Caroline Schuppli, Sofia I F Forss, Ellen J M Meulman, Nicole Zweifel, Kevin C Lee, Evasari Rukmana, Erin R Vogel, Maria A van Noordwijk, Carel P van Schaik
BACKGROUND: Orangutans have one of the slowest-paced life histories of all mammals. Whereas life-history theory suggests that the time to reach adulthood is constrained by the time needed to reach adult body size, the needing-to-learn hypothesis instead suggests that it is limited by the time needed to acquire adult-level skills. To test between these two hypotheses, we compared the development of foraging skills and growth trajectories of immature wild orangutans in two populations: at Tuanan (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii), Borneo, and Suaq Balimbing (Pongo abelii), Sumatra...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Heiko T Jansen, Tanya Leise, Gordon Stenhouse, Karine Pigeon, Wayne Kasworm, Justin Teisberg, Thomas Radandt, Robert Dallmann, Steven Brown, Charles T Robbins
BACKGROUND: Most biological functions are synchronized to the environmental light:dark cycle via a circadian timekeeping system. Bears exhibit shallow torpor combined with metabolic suppression during winter dormancy. We sought to confirm that free-running circadian rhythms of body temperature (Tb) and activity were expressed in torpid grizzly (brown) bears and that they were functionally responsive to environmental light. We also measured activity and ambient light exposures in denning wild bears to determine if rhythms were evident and what the photic conditions of their natural dens were...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Ronald Petie, Anders Garm, Michael R Hall
BACKGROUND: Photoreceptors have evolved numerous times giving organisms the ability to detect light and respond to specific visual stimuli. Studies into the visual abilities of the Asteroidea (Echinodermata) have recently shown that species within this class have a more developed visual sense than previously thought and it has been demonstrated that starfish use visual information for orientation within their habitat. Whereas image forming eyes have been suggested for starfish, direct experimental proof of true spatial vision has not yet been obtained...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Adolfo Christian Montes-Medina, Alejandro Salinas-Melgoza, Katherine Renton
BACKGROUND: Understanding the role of avian vocal communication in social organisation requires knowledge of the vocal repertoire used to convey information. Parrots use acoustic signals in a variety of social contexts, but no studies have evaluated cross-functional use of acoustic signals by parrots, or whether these conform to signal design rules for different behavioural contexts. We statistically characterised the vocal repertoire of 61 free-living Lilac-crowned Amazons (Amazona finschi) in nine behavioural contexts (nesting, threat, alarm, foraging, perched, take-off, flight, landing, and food soliciting)...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Héctor E Ramírez-Chaves, Vera Weisbecker, Stephen Wroe, Matthew J Phillips
BACKGROUND: The minute, finely-tuned ear ossicles of mammals arose through a spectacular evolutionary transformation from their origins as a load-bearing jaw joint. This involved detachment from the postdentary trough of the mandible, and final separation from the dentary through resorption of Meckel's cartilage. Recent parsimony analyses of modern and fossil mammals imply up to seven independent postdentary trough losses or even reversals, which is unexpected given the complexity of these transformations...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Joel L Pick, Pascale Hutter, Christina Ebneter, Ann-Kathrin Ziegler, Marta Giordano, Barbara Tschirren
BACKGROUND: The amount of resources provided by the mother before birth has important and long-lasting effects on offspring fitness. Despite this, there is a large amount of variation in maternal investment seen in natural populations. Life-history theory predicts that this variation is maintained through a trade-off between the benefits of high maternal investment for the offspring and the costs of high investment for the mother. However, the proximate mechanisms underlying these costs of reproduction are not well understood...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Marc-Oliver Adams, Carlo Lutz Seifert, Lisamarie Lehner, Christine Truxa, Wolfgang Wanek, Konrad Fiedler
BACKGROUND: Information on larval diet of many holometabolous insects remains incomplete. Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stable isotope analysis in adult wing tissue can provide an efficient tool to infer such trophic relationships. The present study examines whether moth feeding guild affiliations taken from literature are reflected in isotopic signatures. RESULTS: Non-metric multidimensional scaling and permutational analysis of variance indicate that centroids of dietary groups differ significantly...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Bodo D Wilts, Marco A Giraldo, Doekele G Stavenga
BACKGROUND: Ultrastructures in butterfly wing scales can take many shapes, resulting in the often striking coloration of many butterflies due to interference of light. The plethora of coloration mechanisms is dazzling, but often only single mechanisms are described for specific animals. RESULTS: We have here investigated the male Rajah Brooke's birdwing, Trogonoptera brookiana, a large butterfly from Malaysia, which is marked by striking, colorful wing patterns...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Matthias Pechmann
BACKGROUND: Determination of the embryonic body axes is a crucial developmental process in all animals. The establishment of the embryonic axes of spiders has been best studied in the common-house-spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum. Here, anteroposterior (AP) polarity arises during germ disc formation; the centre of the germ-disc marks the future posterior pole, and the rim of the disc the future anterior pole of the spider embryo. The centre of the germ disc is also needed for the formation of the cumulus, a group of migratory cells needed to establish dorsoventral (DV) polarity...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Ammie K Kalan, Alex K Piel, Roger Mundry, Roman M Wittig, Christophe Boesch, Hjalmar S Kühl
BACKGROUND: Assessing the range and territories of wild mammals traditionally requires years of data collection and often involves directly following individuals or using tracking devices. Indirect and non-invasive methods of monitoring wildlife have therefore emerged as attractive alternatives due to their ability to collect data at large spatiotemporal scales using standardized remote sensing technologies. Here, we investigate the use of two novel passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) systems used to capture long-distance sounds produced by the same species, wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), living in two different habitats: forest (Taï, Côte d'Ivoire) and savanna-woodland (Issa valley, Tanzania)...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Jakob Bro-Jørgensen
BACKGROUND: Dewlaps are iconic features of several ungulate species and, although a role in signalling has been postulated, their function remains largely unexplored. We recently failed to find any age-independent link between dewlap size and social status in the common eland (Tragelaphus oryx), pointing to the possibility that sexual selection may not be the primary cause of dewlap evolution in ungulates. Here I use a two-pronged approach to test hypotheses on the function of ungulate dewlaps: an interspecific comparative analysis of bovids and deer, and an intraspecific study of eland antelopes in the wild...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Frédéric Douhard, Jean-François Lemaître, Wendy M Rauw, Nicolas C Friggens
BACKGROUND: In most mammals, lactating mothers dramatically increase their food intake after parturition and reach a peak intake rate after a certain time while their offspring continue to grow. A common view, perpetuated by the metabolic theory of ecology, is that the allometric scaling of maternal metabolic rate with body mass limits the changes in energy intake and expenditure. Therefore these potential effects of metabolic scaling should be reflected in the elevation of maternal energy intake during lactation...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Andrew R Weeks, Jakub Stoklosa, Ary A Hoffmann
BACKGROUND: As increasingly fragmented and isolated populations of threatened species become subjected to climate change, invasive species and other stressors, there is an urgent need to consider adaptive potential when making conservation decisions rather than focussing on past processes. In many cases, populations identified as unique and currently managed separately suffer increased risk of extinction through demographic and genetic processes. Other populations currently not at risk are likely to be on a trajectory where declines in population size and fitness soon appear inevitable...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Shimiao Shao, Qing Quan, Tianlong Cai, Gang Song, Yanhua Qu, Fumin Lei
BACKGROUND: Morphological characters of birds reflect their adaptive evolution and ecological requirements and are also relevant to phylogenetic relationships within a group of related species. The tits (Paridae) are known to be outwardly homogeneous in shape, with one aberrant member, the Ground Tit (Pseudopodoces humilis), which is quite different from its relatives in both body morphology and beak shape. We combined traditional measurements and geometric morphometrics to quantify the variation in body morphology and beak shape of 14 Paridae species distributed in China...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Andrew M Reynolds, Vitor H Paiva, Jacopo G Cecere, Stefano Focardi
BACKGROUND: The flight patterns of albatrosses and shearwaters have become a touchstone for much of Lévy flight research, spawning an extensive field of enquiry. There is now compelling evidence that the flight patterns of these seabirds would have been appreciated by Paul Lévy, the mathematician after whom Lévy flights are named. Here we show that Lévy patterns (here taken to mean spatial or temporal patterns characterized by distributions with power-law tails) are, in fact, multifaceted in shearwaters being evident in both spatial and temporal patterns of activity...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Zhijin Liu, Guangjian Liu, Frank Hailer, Pablo Orozco-terWengel, Xinxin Tan, Jundong Tian, Zhongze Yan, Baowei Zhang, Ming Li
BACKGROUND: Bitter taste perception is essential for species with selective food intake, enabling them to avoid unpalatable or toxic items. Previous studies noted a marked variation in the number of TAS2R genes among various vertebrate species, but the underlying causes are not well understood. Laurasiatherian mammals have highly diversified dietary niche, showing repeated evolution of specialized feeding preferences in multiple lineages and offering a unique chance to investigate how various feeding niches are associated with copy number variation for bitter taste receptor genes...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Hideki Katow, Tomoko Katow, Hiromi Yoshida, Masato Kiyomoto, Isao Uemura
BACKGROUND: The swimming activity of sea urchin larvae is dependent on the ciliary band (CB) on the larval surface and is regulated by several neurotransmitters, including serotonin (5HT), dopamine, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). However, the CB signal transmission mechanism remains unknown. The present study investigated the structural relationship between the CB and external signal receptors by immunohistochemical and transmission electron microscopic analyses of sea urchin, Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus, larvae...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Yongying Ruan, Dan Dan, Mengna Zhang, Ming Bai, Ming Lei, Baoli Yao, Xingke Yang
BACKGROUND: Innovative new techniques that aid in the visualization of microscopic anatomical structures have improved our understanding of organismal biology significantly. It is often challenging to observe internal 3D structures, despite the use of techniques such as confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), micro-computed tomography (Micro-CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) and others. In the current paper, we assess LED-SIM (DMD-based LED-illumination structured illumination microscopy), which facilitates the acquisition of nano- and micro-3D structures of small organisms in a high-resolution format (500 nm in the XY-plane and 930 nm along the Z-axis)...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
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